Parties see innovation as key for EU economic competitiveness

Ljubljana, 1 June - The parties or lists standing in the EU election in Slovenia mostly believe that investing in research and innovation can help boost the EU's competitiveness. They are advocating for transparency, reducing red tape and strengthening strategic sectors.

Brussels, Belgium
A banner urging voters to go to the EU elections, which will take place across the Union from 6 to 9 June, in Slovenia on 9 June.
Photo: Thierry Monasse/STA
File photo

The STA asked the eleven parties and lists vying for Slovenia's nine seats in the European Parliament the following question:

What are, in your opinion, the necessary steps to strengthen the economic competitiveness and independence of the EU and to compete more easily with global superpowers, such as the US and China, and how should small member states, like Slovenia, be treated in that respect?

Freedom Movement
We want the EU to increase its competitiveness but that must be done while maintaining the EU's social model and reducing inequality. We propose completing the capital markets union and the banking union, establishing a single market for services and strengthening the EU budget for investments in the necessary infrastructure, stimulation of start-ups and higher investment in research and development. EU incentive programmes, funded by the EU budget, are the right way to reach equality of all member states without distorting the single market.

Democrats (SDS)
It is very important that we do not choke the EU economy with new restrictions and bans. If we do not reconsider the measures for green transition and support them with feasibility studies, many companies, especially the small and medium enterprises that are the backbone of our economy, will be additionally burdened and destroyed. This includes measures like energy renovation of buildings and complicated bureaucracy. We need incentives for development and innovation, which will automatically increase our competitiveness.

Both the US and China are investing record sums for green transition. The money is mostly aimed at supporting the economy, restructuring energy systems and investing in a more energy efficient housing sector. European competitiveness and broader security, including energy, food and defence security, directly depend on the successful implementation of green transition, which will decide our way of life and standards in the future.

Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) and Good State
We have to work together with all traditional and new international economic associations, such as BRICS, and make efforts for the EU to continue its economic cooperation with this group of countries, which is a prerequisite for international stability and coexistence. Slovenia's economic policy has to be in line with Slovenian and European long-term interest and cannot blindly follow the policy of the US or China. We have to especially strengthen cooperation with small, medium and neutral European countries.

People's Party (SLS)
The success of the economy is based on innovation and development, which is why investment has to be sufficient and constant. In the last few years the EU has allowed the US, Japan and also China to break through by not increasing investment. Energy independence has to be ensured to prevent companies from moving abroad because of high costs. Green transition has to offer support and not be the reason for businesses to fail. The stability of the European and Slovenian economies is ensured by small and medium enterprises, which need sustainable taxes and less red tape.

New Slovenia - Christian Democrats (NSi)
There is no connected Europe without a strong economy. We stand for those that work and create, which is why our priority is to strengthen the middle class. We have to improve the business environment. A review of the regulatory framework is needed to reduce senseless bureaucratic rules and reporting. China and the US are protecting their companies, which is why European companies are at a comparative disadvantage. The EU has to protect its strategic sectors and establish autonomy in strategic resources, industrial components and medicine.

The US and China give several times more in subsidies to companies than the EU. If the EU wants to stay competitive, it will have to set up subsidy schemes aimed at green transition and supporting green investments. The EU has to create incentives to include employees into company ownership. This motivates the employees and such companies are more sustainability-oriented. If this will not suffice to prevent the deindustrialisation of Europe, it will be time to think about import duties, aimed at the sustainability of the environment and protection of workers' rights.

Greens of Slovenia
Investing in research and development and transferring technology to the economy is key. This has to be supported with a system of suitable financial measures. The medium-term solution is to set up a joint fiscal framework, which includes tax breaks. Access to them has to be ensured through strategic partnerships with countries rich in raw materials, the circular economy should also be developed and materials reused. In the field of energy, the import dependence has to be reduced and our own energy market strengthened.

Social Democrats (SD)
To continue the fair fight, we have to ensure the continuation of a reliable energy supply and global respect for the principles of fair competitiveness. We have to strengthen our production capabilities and support innovation. The EU will have to think about upgrading its regulations on budget sustainability and preventing state investment in strategic industries. A large advantage of the EU is respecting the rule of law. Being part of such an environment is the biggest advantage for Slovenia and its economic potential.

Resnica (Truth)
To strengthen the economic competitiveness and independence of the EU, all member states no matter the size have to be guaranteed equal treatment. We support joint innovation and investment in research, especially in digitalisation. This will strengthen the independence from foreign resources and improve global competitiveness. Slovenia and other small countries need to have the option of active participation in projects and decision-making, which will boost cohesion and growth in the EU.

None of This (NOT)
The Slovenian economy can adjust quickly, regardless of its export dependency and geopolitical events. Our competitiveness is most affected by the lack of transparency in infrastructural projects and in healthcare. After 30 years, the time has come to plan Slovenia's development in the middle and long term, otherwise there is too much improvisation, which calls for corruption. Slovenia can be competitive only with transparency in public procurement and frugal decisions.

© STA, 2024